Wednesday, June 20, 2012

no line on the horizon

In one of Yeats' most beloved, though not one of his favorite, poems, 'The Lake Isle of Innisfree,' he moves to the natural world to liberate himself from the constraints of the 'real' world; and in doing so, transcends time altogether and enters an imaginary world. The real world in this poem is London. And the imaginary realm is rooted in Ireland, his home, and grown through transcendence. In his first line he sets off:

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,

That he uses the word 'arise,' the reader can think not only that he gets up, but that he ascends. He goes to a higher place, one that rises above all others.

Later in the poem, he writes:

There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow.

Here he tells us that time on Innisfree is altered, interrupted; it is set on its' ear. Glimmer means not only shiny, but a faint suggestion ... so midnight is suggested- it may not be what it appears to be. Interesting that noon holds a 'purple glow.' Purple is a dark hue, not a sunny yellow or orange or one that's more associated with day time. Purple is significant as it's a Lenten color ... aha! Resurrection. Rising from the dead. In Innisfree, a weary soul, once dead, is no alive again. There one transcends. Is home.

While driving along the Upper Peninsula of Michigan after a crazy, violent storm, I looked out over the horizon and felt that I was in this poem. There was no purple, or glimmer. It was more of a melt. No line on the horizon. Water and sky were one. I was alone on the road and fell into the magic of suspension.
Lake Michigan from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan
There's another Irishman, Irishmen, who have written about this ... when U2 released No Line on the Horizon, I must have played the cover track a hundred times before I listened to any other song on that album.  Here's some of the lyric from No Line on the Horizon, the song:

I know a girl who's like the sea
I watch her changing every day for me
Oh yeah
Oh oh oh oh oh oh oh

One day she's still, the next she swells
You can hear the universe in her sea shells
Oh yeah
Oh oh oh oh oh oh oh

No, no line on the horizon, no line

I know a girl with a hole in her heart
She said infinity is a great place to start
Oh oh oh oh oh oh oh

She said "Time is irrelevant, it's not linear"

Then she put her tongue in my ear
Oh oh oh oh oh oh oh

Yeah, on the horizon, time is irrelevant. The line has been wiped out by the blend, the crash, of sky and sea. The band practice of this song is nearly as driving as what you'll hear live or on the album. The sea is a recurrent theme in U2 lyrics ... and I would like to think that in his own way, Bono keeps up the Yeatsean tradition of transcendence. It is definitely an interest of mine ... oh, this world is just fine, but the dip into the imaginary makes it all the more ... sweet. And at this point, this sky and lake become a porthole, I was ... away with the fairies.

[ Lyrics from:

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